We have collected advice from local chefs to revolutionise your Christmas dinner

Dennis Duncanson, who is holding residency at The Leicester Arms in Penshurst and The Rock in Chiddingstone this winter, suggests trying something different this Christmas! Turkey is in short supply in parts of the UK, so why not try Festive Stuffed Porchetta with all the trimmings? Plenty for 6-8 festive bellies.

  • 10 garlic cloves
  • (finely diced) 
  • 2 brown onion (finely diced)
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ bunch rosemary
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • ½ bunch sage
  • 50g walnuts
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 3kg pork belly (also ask your butcher for some string)
  • 2 oranges 
  1. Pop your onions and garlic into a pot to gently cook with some oil and a good pinch of salt and pepper, for approximately 5 minutes.
  2. Then add your fresh rosemary, sage and parsley (making sure to finely chop your parsley stalks too for great flavour) as well as the dried cranberries and walnuts. Cook for a further 5 minutes, before removing from the heat.
  3. Open up the pork belly at the natural seam, being careful not to pierce the skin. It should open almost like a book, ready to be well seasoned.
  4. Grate the zest of the oranges and squeeze out all the juice from them to massage into the meat.
  5. Now add your festive filling, spreading evenly, before you close the “book”. Roll the belly up and tie it up nice and tight with some butchers string.
  6. Place onto a roasting tray, adding a nice smother of oil, salt and pepper, before putting into a pre heated oven on 220˚C and roast for 30 minutes, then reduce temperature to 170˚C for a further hour.
  7. By now you should have the perfect crackle and moist festive meat. Leave to rest, then remove the string and slice away.

To try Dennis’ food yourself, book at therockchiddingstone.com or theleicesterarms.com

Dan Austin, Head Chef at Balfour in Staplehurst, shares this cured salmon recipe – an excellent alternative to traditional smoked salmon or gravlax with a vibrant beetroot cure that makes for an effortlessly eye-catching starter. 

  • 1 side of freshest possible salmon, or unsliced cold-smoked salmon
  • 2 large raw beetroots, peeled and quartered
  • 100ml russet apple juice
  • 1 orange, zest and juice
  • 80g sea salt
  • 30g demerara sugar
  • small handful of chopped dill
  1. Ahead of time, blitz all of the ingredients – except for the dill and salmon – in a food processor until fairly smooth.
  2. Transfer the paste into a tray or oven dish and stir in the dill.
  3. If the salmon will fit neatly in the tray, it can remain there for the curing process, if not, remove it and place on some cling film.
  4. Smother the salmon heavily in the marinade so that all surfaces are coated in as much as possible. If it is on clingfilm, be sure to wrap it up tightly.
  5. The salt, sugar and acids from the fruit will cure the raw fish, so it’s important to use only very fresh salmon and allow it between 24 and 72 hours in the fridge to safely cure. Alternatively, you can eliminate the risks of uncooked seafood by using unsliced, cold-smoked salmon.
  6. To serve, remove the fish and gently wash off the marinade in a little clean water and pat dry. Or – for a stronger saltier flavour – you can simply wipe off the marinade thoroughly using kitchen paper and no water.
  7. Slice your salmon immediately before serving to keep it safe. Using a sharp knife, slice at an angle to the board as thinly as possible, and arrange the slices fan-like on each plate.
  8. Garnish and serve with your choice of accompaniments. We recommend sweet, pickled fruit or onions, dill crème fraîche, a slightly sweetened, dense bread like rye or pumpernickel, and a glass of Leslie’s Reserve Sparkling Red NV.

For more information visit balfourwin‍ery.‍com

Top Tricks

James Hickson from The Royal in St Leonards, shares how to elevate festive food plans Find out more about James’ food at theroyalstleonards.co.uk

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